[Air-L] Twittering

Alex Randall alex at islands.vi
Mon Nov 2 17:22:23 PST 2009

5.25's aren't toooo hard.
There are services that will transfer files.
Lawyers from eBay wanted to see some of my work from 1983 and we had to get 
the original model for the Boston Computer Exchange off of old 5.25 disks 
that I had in storage. Our demo we showed at Comdex in 1983 and 1984.  All 
stored on 5.25 disks. All part of a law suit over who created the earliest 
system for buying on-line.

While we had no trouble getting a service to copy the data to modern media, 
it is only from 26 years ago... Imagine trying to get data off a really OLD 
computer, C/PM or pre-PC era computers.

All of my writing from the 80's is inaccessible to me now. Those of word 
processors made files in ASCII, but the programs no longer work under 
Windows. So it is effectively gone. Even if it was well stored, backed up 
and archived, there is no way to get that data back into use.

I notice that pretty much everything from that era is NOT on the Internet. 
It is hard to find news items from minor journals from before 2000.  Lots of 
articles about what we were doing in the 80's and 90's has not been brought 
up to the Internet, so there is a sense that "history" has a bump in the 
road. Google is not able to find stuff that never got brought into the 
current media.

I really wonder if the children of today will have any sense of their 
personal history or if it will all disappear.  We talk as if facebook is 
forever, we warn people not to leave a digital footprint that will embarrass 
them later - - but all it takes is a glitch or a bankruptcy and all the data 
will be gone.

If you have ever had a hard drive fail and you lost everything, you 
understand how ephemeral our data is.

As a consequence, I am back to writing an old fashioned book - on paper....

Alex Randall

> Alex that is a very profound way of stating this problem. One boss of 
> mine who had been computing in research since the 1960's kept an old  Mac 
> in his office. I have managed to copy a few 5.25 floppies for my  family 
> to newer media.
> I wonder if anyone here studies archiving. I do no really but have  been 
> an archiving clerk archiving the Canadian census off paper to  microfilm. 
> It took about 300 clerks 1 year to archive two years of our  census.
> BTW older computers can be found for free in my city to allow you to 
> update media. 5.25 drives still work in some of my machines.
> Peter Timusk,
> B.Math statistics (2002), B.A. legal studies (2006) Carleton University
> Systems Science Graduate student, University of Ottawa.
> just trying to stay linear.
> Read by hundreds of lurkers every week.
> kiitos paljon,  merci,  thank you and muchas gracias for reading.

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